We sat down with actor Wes Johnson about his role in Farragut Forward, an upcoming Star Trek fan production and partnership between Kaotica Studios and Farragut Films. Aside from his work as the announcer for the Washington Capitals hockey team, Wes is a talented actor and voice artist who has appeared in such films as A Dirty Shame, Head of State, The Invasion, For Richer or Poorer and Hearts in Atlantis, and television shows including Homicide: Life on the Streets, The Wire, and Veep. He has also leant his voice to popular video game franchises including Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Star Trek: Legacy, and Star Trek: Conquest.
Before we get started with Wes, Farragut Forward has raised nearly $16,000 toward the construction of all-new sets, costumes, and other production costs, but we still need your help! We’re down to the final push on our fundraising campaign, so please help support this project now on Indiegogo!
Welcome Wes! How did you become involved in the Farragut Forward project?
I had worked on a project with actor Paul Sieber (who plays Prescott) and had spoken with Paul and Dean Rogers about their involvement in the the Starship Farragut web-series. Dean sent me a few links and I thought it was awesome. They got me in touch with (Executive Producer) John Broughton and we had a chance to talk about our love of all things Trek.
The script for Farragut Forward does what the best Star Trek always does. It’s about people. Science fiction is best when it tells an emotional story that is grounded. That shows the heart of the characters and allows them to interact with a twisty story in exciting ways. The beauty of Trek has always been that the journey to the stars begins in each individual’s soul. And we get to share that in Farragut Forward. It’s very exciting.– Wes Johnson
How long have you been a Star Trek fan?
I remember watching TOS as a kid, sneaking peaks when my parents watched at night (and losing sleep over salt monsters) and then obsessing over it in its earliest syndication. My brother and I would play Kirk and Spock. Ironically, considering all the times I would play Shatner on stage and in video games in later years, I was always Spock! Illogical, maybe. But I was taller. Mock Trek fighting was always fun. Made adults stop their cars and yell at you to stop it when rough housing in the yard! I always wanted communicators, phasers, any Star Trek oriented merchandise. Couldn’t afford it, but wanted it nonetheless. I made up for that when I got older and started getting paychecks 🙂
You recently had a makeup test for your role as the Klingon doctor “Valal” in Farragut Forward. What was that day like?
Star Trek fantasy camp! Again, as a huge Trek fan, seeing the fantastic Trek toys all over John’s house and in the film staging area was a huge treat. I arrived a bit early and was able to take it all quietly in. Once the makeup started, I was surprised at how light and breathable it all was. Everyone was super kind, and Klingon makeup master extraordinaire William Jay helped transform me, along with (wardrobe/makeup artists) Belle Bredehoft and Ashley Mills. There’s something freeing about becoming a character that looks nothing like you. It was wonderful to disappear inside Valal.
Are you excited to play a Klingon?
I once did a bit called “The William Shatner School of Acting” for my comedy troupe Fresh Victims, on WHFS, and on FunnyOrDie.com. Going from playing my hero, Shatner, leading a class in a passionate chant of “You Klingon Bastard! You killed my son!” to shouting “Qapla’!!” as a Klingon Bastard myself, well, that’s some life journey! I couldn’t be more excited to bring this Doctor, a true Klingon of honor to life. ‘Iwllj nachkam!
What are your favorite roles to play?
Well, villains are always fun, but again, they aren’t the villains to themselves, are they? Every character is the hero of their own story. I love playing characters who have more going on than just what you see on the surface. They appear to be one thing, but there are layers. Peeling the onion of a deep character is one of my favorite things to do.
There are always lots of discussions about costumes and sets, but you’ve read the script… What do you think of the story itself?
The script for Farragut Forward does what the best Star Trek always does. It’s about people. Science fiction is best when it tells an emotional story that is grounded. That shows the heart of the characters and allows them to interact with a twisty story in exciting ways. The beauty of Trek has always been that the journey to the stars begins in each individual’s soul. And we get to share that in Farragut Forward. It’s very exciting.
What’s your favorite era of Star Trek?
Without TOS, nothing that followed would be possible. Kirk, Spock and McCoy – that original crew that we fell in love with. No matter how good it has been, or how good it gets, it is all in the shadow of, and indebted to Gene Roddenberry’s original “Wagon Train to the Stars.”
Kirk or Picard?
Sophie’s Choice! Love Patrick Stewart. LOVE. Picard is wonderful. But… give me a two fisted punch on a giant lizard man followed by a snog with a green Orion girl any… day… of the week!! Kirk, the OG.
You are the voice of the Washington Capitals hockey team! Would you ever show up at a game in full Klingon regalia?
I showed up wearing a Darth Vader helmet and cape for Star Wars night once. I did Fallout and Elder Scrolls voices on a Bethesda Game Studios night. And I did an opposition lineup in the voice of William Shatner as Kirk once. Yeah… not too many things I wouldn’t do if it were in the cause of a fun night for fans.
What other projects are you working on?
We’re working to film the feature version of our award winning short “Celtic Cross.” It’s called “Whiskey and Words” and the script by Jack Gorman is wonderful. We’re excited that George Dibble and Wes Lee’s “Volkov Origin” just received distribution, and “Thank You” by Mike Kravinsky is hitting all the festivals right now. And of course, who knows what new video game voices are in my future. Between those things, Farragut Forward, and announcing the Capitals as they make their way to the playoffs for another Cup run, it’s a very exciting time!
Any closing remarks?
Join our funding for Farragut Forward! As George Harrison said when asked why he funded Monty Python’s “The Life of Brian,” “Because… I wanted to see it.” You’ll want to see Farragut Forward. Let’s make it happen! wo’ batlhvaD!
Welcome aboard Wes, and thanks for joining the Farragut Forward team! Please help support this project now on Indiegogo!
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